Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Joggled voussoirs


What? Yes, joggled voussoirs! Those interlocking marble blocks (in two contrasting colours) that recur time after time in Islamic architecture are joggled voussoirs. Barabara Drieskens' fascinating urban anthropolgy "Living with Djins" uses joggled voussoirs as a metaphor for the interdependence of storyteller and audience, and story and event. What fascinates me about her book is the way she just stays faithful to the stories themselves. Whilst she looks at their significance, particularly to the urban poor of Cairo, she does not get distracted by looking at their relationship to "real events", but simply treats them as truths in themselves.

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